Stories and insight in the world of showbiz and beyond.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A NICHE IN TIME

I’m constantly asked why I spend time writing a blog. Who’s going to read it? By last count, there are over 23 million blogs on the web. 23 MILLION! Insurmountable odds? I’m optimistic. I Look at it this way: There are about 300 million people in the United States alone. Do the math. Divided equally, that computes to over 10 million readers for each blog. And, I’m just out to get my share.

Actually, I think my chances are pretty darn good. According to LA Times writer Patrick Goldstein, we are now a nation of niches. “Today’s action is with the country watching cable shows or reading blogs that play to a specific audience.”

Specific audience? That’s my fans. The Lloyd Thaxton Show was always kind of a “niche.” It certainly played to a specific audience. And that makes me a real “son of a niche.”

It is said that the reason “American Idol” is such a big hit is because there is a huge niche out there that wants to be a member of a group, encouraged by their peers. What the “Idol” audiences love to see are others like them up there competing for fame and fortune. They see how they dance, sing, how they dress, and how they are treated with great respect. They even accept the occasional put-down from judge Simon Cowell as meaningful. “That could be me” is most likely the “Idol” fan’s mantra.

That, if you think about it, is what The Lloyd Thaxton Show was all about. We had our lip-sync contests, dance contests and each show was a showcase for the latest dances and “what-to-wear” on a date. Young people watched because they saw themselves up there joining in the fun. And, everyone was treated with great respect.

Still doing the math, I’ve figured that in the years the show was on the air, we had over 45 thousand dancing and performing teens on the show. And that was just the ones who were actually there, in person, live. Add to that the millions who were watching each show and we had a pretty substantial niche going for us.

According to Princeton University’s WordNet, niche is “a position particularly well suited to the person who occupies it.” In other words, a “clique.”

“HELLO TO THE LLOYD THAXTON MOUSE CLIQUERS!”

There is no doubt that the 60s represented a very unique period in history. Think about it. Civil Rights demonstrations and legislation, the Vietnam War, the draft, Woman’s Lib, the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Flower Children, Students for a Democratic Society, and Sex Drugs and Rock & Roll. The country has never been the same since.

Throughout this tumultuous time, The Lloyd Thaxton Show was there pumping out The Twist, The Beatles, James Brown, Surf music, Motown music, Top Forty and Rock and roll. And millions of kids were dancing to the music. It was the oasis in the midst of chaos; The calm during the storm. And according to the many letters I’ve received from the show’s fans, it gave a lot of people the confidence that everything would turn out OK. I, myself, am completely awed and humbled by it all.

So, back to the original question: why am I writing a blog? The answer is quite simple. I have a niche I just have to scratch. And so far I feel I have only scratched the surface. Judging by the hundreds of emails I have received, there is a substantial niche out there that wants to hash over a lot of cool memories.

13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lloyd,
With all due respect to the kids you had on your show...I REALLY watched it because of YOU! I loved the way you handled everything, your attitude was
always so cool, in the REAL sense. You weren't TRYING to be cool...you just were. As if you might have been thinking: Don't get so excited, it'll all be fine, and it'll all work out.
Oh, I enjoyed the guests...many of which we never got to see on any other tv shows, but even as a teen, I always KNEW you saw through all the BS...and in that respect, even
though I was just a teen, and you were older, I identified with you a great deal.
Glad you're back!
Rowland

3:57 PM

 
Blogger Gary said...

Couldn't have said it better myself, Lloyd.
Gary

5:54 PM

 
Blogger kevin manning said...

Hi Lloyd, how are you doing these days? I watched your show regularly after school. What is a dawk. Would it be your puppet figures? on your fingers?What did you think of the dave clark five and did you here of Mike Smiths accident? He was the singer of the dc5 very sad. Kevin

8:38 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello from Istanbul Lloyd...This one really hits home. Being a regular on your show (2-3 times a week) for over a year...it was great to be able to be a part of your show. Civil rights??...your show was always equal oppourtunity from the get go for all of us "kids" then.

In fact, our school (Venice High School) was the first school you had on there with mixed race couples...thanks to both you, and Sam Ashe, and KCOP...you all did your part, and best to say."We Can all overcome and get along"

Best Regards Frome Istanbul....Chuck

11:16 PM

 
Blogger Gary said...

Hi Lloyd,
I've been in contact with guitarist Billy Strange and he was wondering if any of his appearances on your show survived? If you can email me privately, I can hook you two up.
THANKS!
Gary
garyb558@yahoo.com

4:48 AM

 
Blogger THE ROCK RELIC said...

Gotta put down this little wedge of cheese to write this, so forgive the cheddar smears on the paper ...
The show was the best on the market. Yes, you certainly carved an essential "niche" ... and you didn't cut any corners in reaching the kids (otherwise, we'd have another episode of "The Edge Of Niche").
But, my friend, there's another, and more profound, effect of your show (one that the LLoyd Thaxton, 2006 model, still causes!) that needs to reach EVERY person who deals with kids in ANY way:
Our children are the only future this world has. We can uphold them, treat them like their thoughts COUNT, give them a positive boost (whether through music, the written word, whatever), and stay in touch with them (even through a blog!) and their feelings.
You did that through the show, and even now. And I honestly believe that's one of the reasons why OUR generation (the ones who grew up watching LT) is more vocal, with stronger morals and direction.
I'm proud of you, both as friend, mentor, and as a truly positive spirit in this crazy world.
So, to repeat myself, "The show was the best on the market. Yes, you certainly carved an essential 'niche' ..."

Chuck

10:53 AM

 
Blogger Lloyd Thaxton said...

Answer time ...

First, thanks everybody for the nice compliments.

Gary asked about Mike Smith of the Dave Clark Five. My chief source for all Rock Facts, the Rock Relic himself, says "Mike Smith is slowly recuperating (he can feed himself now, is also able to write a little. The accident left him tetraplegic.)" Go up one notch to Chuck Hinson's comment and you can click on the rock relic's blog and get all kinds of info.

To Gary, who asked about Billy Strange. I do not have any footage re: Billy. However, I do have copies of "The Tennessee Ska" produced by Billy on Decca. Happens to feature a younger Lloyd Thaxton on the vocals. Love to "hook up."

Keep those comments coming.

Lloyd

12:22 PM

 
Blogger BiLL Earl said...

So tell us about THE DAWK...how did THE DAWK become part of your show? The whole story, pulleeze??!!

BiLL Earl
http://billearl.blogspot.com

7:28 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

weren't you one of the first to show Sonny and Cher??

11:39 PM

 
Blogger Lloyd Thaxton said...

ANSWER TIME:

Bill Earl asked how the DAWK became a part of the show. Universal, the syndicator came up with the idea. It was something fans could buy as a souvenir. We used it to bash around.

Anonymous asked if I was the first to put on Sony and Cher. All I can tell you is that I was the first to put on Caesar and Cleopatra (who became Sonny and Cher)

2:45 PM

 
Anonymous David said...

Hi Lloyd,
It's amazing that you are out there and building up a following here in the computer age with your blog. You seem very much in tune with modern pop culture. I'm not old enough to remember The Lloyd Thaxton Show first-hand, but I used to buy "Tiger Beat" whenever KISS were on the cover, if that dates me any. I also remember "America's Funniest People." Unfortunately. I also have one of your LPs that includes Round Robin, I think it's called "Land Of A Thousand Dances."
One of my favorite groups from the '60s that I identify with you (because you wrote comments for a CD boxed set) are the Knickerbockers. What do you remember most of them?
Again, it's great to see you on the web, and although I never watched the LT show, I can see that I missed a lot. Your insights are fascinating.
By the way, I have an old LP that includes a song by a group from Dayton, Ohio, called the Dawks. I'd bet they got the name from your show.

5:19 PM

 
Anonymous Jennifer Weatherly said...

Hi Pop,

I think you look fabulous. Of course, this is coming from your daughter! Let me just say how fun it was to be Lloyd Thaxton's daughter. Hey, wait, it's still fun. It was so fun to see my dad on TV everyday goofing with all the big stars and then have him come home from work carrying his briefcase as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

Your ever lovin' daughter

1:41 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! One of my first memories was watching your show. I have a sister eight years older than me and she always watched it, I watched it from my playpen, I have such a clear memory of it, I wanted so much to be older and be a teenager and be on your show!

I love the reissues they did of Hullabaloo and Shindig, I was actually nosing around looking for something like that, but I found YOU instead! And in my own home town of Studio City? Too much...! Well all the best to you and thanks for all the great memories. Something about that show is just so special and memorable, to a lot of other people too I see!

Katie

1:04 AM

 

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